Chef Anthony Caturano, owner and chef of four Massachusetts restaurants – Prezza, Tonno Wakefield, Tonno Gloucester, and The Blue Ox – has been producing top-rated Italian meals for over 20 years. The talented chef and business owner grew up in Revere, Massachusetts and Danvers, Massachusetts, and draws from his rich Italian heritage and New England seafood to create simultaneously unique and comforting dishes. Chef Anthony Caturano’s passion for cooking and connecting to customers have made his restaurants in Boston, Wakefield, Gloucester, and Lynn well-regarded community favorites.
Where did the idea for Prezza come from?
I wanted to open a restaurant in the North End that paid homage to my Grandmother’s home town. Not all of the dishes are from there, but the cooking is from the heart and I think that is a great representation of how she used to cook.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I wake up and make my kids breakfast every morning. I hit the gym after and then it’s time for work. For me it’s a great way to start the day and helps me focus on what’s in front of me for the day.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I have found with 4 restaurants now the best way to get ideas to life is to include the staff. I like to ask them what people think, what people want to see and what they think will work. I bring my ideas to the table, and we sort of melt it all together. This helps make the idea stronger, better and inclusive for the team.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The latest trend seems to be more obstacles thrown at restaurants and owners/management having to deal with that. I think it helps us all stay creative and more in touch with what’s going on. For me it has helped me to refocus on what we do, what we need to do and what do we need to do next.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Lately I have been trying to make a better habit of better communication with both our staff and customers. Communication is the key to success.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Sell in January 2020.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I don’t like to get into Politics, especially living in Mass.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Set different personal and business goals and find some mentors in each category to help inspire you.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Hire people smarter than you. People that are better specialized in an area than you are.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I opened a second restaurant when I was younger and took the advice of a thousand people and tried to implement it all to make everyone happy. I should have stuck more to my gut and made better decisions. It was costly but when I opened Tonno in Gloucester I had a much clearer vision of what I wanted it to be and evolved it slowly as I realized what the demands were.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Create an all-in-one restaurant management tool. Staff communication, Point of Sale, Reservation software and Inventory tool. A bartender looks at the reservations before he comes in, realizes he is out of Vodka, he puts it in the computer that its 86d, it sends the order to the vendor and the waitstaff all get a text message that it’s out of stock and more is on the way. I think half the conversations in restaurant day to day operations are in that sentence right there. What are we out of? Are we getting more and how many reservations do we have?
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I got a babysitter so my wife and I could go out for dinner. Yeah, a babysitter gets about $100 now.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Anything cloud based they are all helpful tools.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Everything I need to know I learned in Kindergarten”. It’s a great simple book of essays. It teaches people how to be kind to each other, take care of one another and a lot of other things that we learn at an early age but seem to lose along the way.
What is your favorite quote?
- Your staff is among the most important assets to your company.
- When it comes to making decisions, trust your gut.
- Keep reading, keep talking, keep learning.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.